Amid a semi-documentary portrait of New York and its people, Jean Dexter, an attractive blonde model, is murdered in her apartment. Homicide detectives Dan Muldoon and Jimmy Halloran ... See full summary »
In Los Angeles, on the day of her birthday, the telephone operator Norah Larkin decides to celebrate dining alone at home, with the picture of his beloved fiancé, a soldier overseas, and reading his last letter for her. In the letter he tells that he met a Japanese nurse and he wanted to get married with her. Norah, completely upset, accepts to blind date the Don Juan and photographer of calendar girls Harry Prebble. They go to the Blue Gardenia Club, and Norah drinks six strong cocktails Polynesian Pearl Divers and gets completely drunk. Harry takes her to his apartment and tries to force Norah to have sex, and she uses a poker to hit Harry on the head. On the next morning, she wakes-up in her apartment with her two roommates, but she can not remember what happened. When she reads the newspaper, she finds that Harry is dead and the police has her handkerchief, her high heels and her blue gardenia and is chasing the woman that killed the famous wolf Harry. When she reads in the ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
While the record album of the "Tristan and Isolde" music is never shown close enough to the camera for the movie audience to see it, it either is, or has been created to resemble, a typical 78-RPM album set of the 1940's of an RCA Victor recording featuring Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra. The cover art greatly resembles that of a 78-RPM album pressing featuring Toscanini conducting that orchestra. Toscanini was considered the greatest conductor of that era. See more »
It is stated that the record on the turntable was still playing when the body was discovered. This would not have happened because the turntable is a 'record changer' that automatically shuts off when the control arm is engaged and there are no more records in the stack. In the flashback sequence, Harry Prebble is shown activating the control arm. If it had been left disengaged (up and to the side) it would have played the record continuously as mentioned. See more »
I didn't like Prebble when he was alive. But now that he's been murdered, that always makes a man so romantic.
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"Prelude and Liebestod from 'Tristan and Isolde'"
Music by Richard Wagner
Played over the airport loudspeaker, and on the phonograph See more »
Fritz Lang was pressed for time when he undertook to direct this movie. It shows! This film was based on a novel by Vera Caspary, the author of "Laura", but in comparison to her best known work, this story pales next to it. The screenplay by Charles Hoffman doesn't make it better, but it's far from a terrible movie.
If you haven't seen the film, please stop reading here.
First of all, this is not a movie that belongs to the film noir genre. Far from it, it is a movie with a mystery and perhaps some suspense. The only thing that might come close to being a noir is the a couple of sequences filmed during the night, but nothing else matches that category.
First of all, the heroine of the film is an ingenue. How else can we classify Norah, the young telephone operator from a small town near Los Angeles? She is in love with a G.I. that is serving overseas. Norah has received a letter from him, but waits until she is having a celebratory dinner by herself to read it. Well, she learns that she has been dumped. When the phone rings for her roommate, Chrystal, she answers and gets an invitation for dinner at the Blue Gardenia, a trendy eatery where "umbrella drinks" are served. Nat Cole is the entertainer singing a horrible little number that is repeated throughout the picture.
This is the beginning of Norah's downfall. She gets drunk and her date invites her to go to his apartment. Harry Prebble has other ideas of how to spend a relaxed night at home listening to Nat Cole's rendition of the song heard at the restaurant to put Norah into a romantic mood. She passes out, only to be awakened by an insisting Harry. We watch Norah reject his advances, a mirror is broken, and the next thing we know, he's dead.
To make matters worse, Casey Mayo, the local star reporter, takes an interest in the "Blue Gardenia" murder. Norah, who hasn't told anyone about her experience, is having pangs of anxiety. What to do? After all is investigated, everyone realizes Norah couldn't have done the murder herself. It's Mayo who discovers the secret because instead of Nat Cole in the record player, the LP they heard when they get to Harry's apartment is a Wagner opus. This in turn, solves the mystery in pointing to a minor character seen only for maybe a minute of screen time! That was the best example of true sleuthing.
"Blue Gardenia" shows us the young and beautiful Anne Baxter. Her Norah is a naive woman swimming in a sea full of sharks. Ms. Baxter does her best under the circumstances. Richard Conte, as Casey Mayo is sadly miscast in the movie. Sassy Ann Southern doesn't have much to do. Raymond Burr is effective as the lecherous Harry, but unfortunately he doesn't stay around too long.
The movie is a minor Lang.
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